How to Stop Mindless Snacking

Do you sometimes find yourself eating when you are not really hungry?

Ever sit down in front of the TV, bag of chips or pretzels in hand–and before you realize it, you’ve finished the entire bag?After you’ve finished dinner, do you sometimes find yourself looking around your home for a snack even though you’re not really hungry?stop-mindless-snackingMaybe you dig into the candy dish in your office and later notice not one or two, but ten Hershey Kisses wrappers in the trash?If so, you’re not alone.Though snacking can be good for you, too often people snack mindlessly and snack for reasons other than true hunger.Too many people snack not because they have a physical hunger, but to feed an emotional hunger.  But no matter what or how much you eat, you can never satisfy an emotional need with food.So what to do?I have a simple, yet empowering and effective approach to helping you deal with your emotional or non-hunger snacking.  It’s just three easy steps:

Stop. Think. Write.

StopIf you’re filling yourself up with food to compensate for other things in your life, it’s time to take a step back.  Food may work as a quick fix, but the more effective long-term solution is to take a step back and work out what’s going on in your life that makes you do this.ThinkBefore you snack, ask yourself:  “Am I really hungry?”  Maybe you’re bored, tired, stressed, angry, lonely, or the thousands of other emotions out there.Are you using food to cover feelings you don’t want to deal with? Are you lonely?  Are you fed up with your job?WriteNest, sit down, take out a piece of paper and write at the top of the page, “What do I need?” and start writing.  Write 3 things that you need right now or in your life.  You may be surprised to find that it’s not really food you’re hungry for, but for something else in your life.

It’s Not All Or Nothing

Now I don’t want to you think I’m saying to stop all non-hungry snacking. There’s a place, without big servings of guilt on the side, for a piece of your friend’s birthday cake, a celebratory glass of wine after the completion of a big project at work, or an ice cream after a hot day at the beach.  But constantly “soothing” yourself with food because you’re bored, anxious, frustrated or depressed is a definite no-no.Eat Without Guilt (c’mon, you knew that would be part of the equation!)The most undervalued skill when it comes to managing our snacking and hunger is learning to eat without guilt. We’re often snacking quickly for a whole lot of non-hunger reasons and, when we do, it’s easy to eat more than what we should.There’s a power that comes from learning to slow down and really taste food, and accepting that it’s okay to snack for non-hunger reasons occasionally.But if you learn to listen to your mind, your body, and your soul (or “inner hunger”) you’ll find snacking will become a response to real hunger — and not an emotional one.Your turn:  In the comments below, I’d love to hear if YOU ever find yourself eating or snacking for non-hunger reasons.  And YOUR tips for how you get through it.

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